What are the Solfege Sharps and Flats

What are the Solfege Sharps and Flats

The solfege system represents every note of a scale used in music with each note having its own unique syllable, sung each and every time it appears in the musical component. The solfege is also referred to as solfeggio or solfa and it consists of the seven notes ( do re mi fa sol la ti do). The solfege system can be classified into two; the ‘fixed do’ and the ‘movable do’.


There have been different controversies about which is better between the fixed-do and the movable do. Some musicians however believe that the fixed-do is better than the movable do in terms of effectiveness and mostly because the fixed-do was the original solfege system.

One of the important practices of the moveable do is to identify the sharp note with an ‘i’ vowel while for the flats, it identifies it with an ‘e’ or ‘a’ vowel. That is, do changes to di for sharp while so changes to se for flat. The fixed-do usually sing a plain note without distraction.



A sharp occurs when a note is to be raised by a half step. A sharp is denoted by a#. Wherever a# is written, it can mean the measure for the note is sharp.

A flat on the other hand is when a note is to be lowered by half a step. A flat is denoted by a ’b’. Wherever a ‘b’ is written, it means the measure for the note is flat


The solfege sharps include: Di Ri Fa Si Li Do Di which can also be represented thus; #1 #2 #3 # 4#5 #6 #7.

The solfege flats include Ti Ra Me Mi Se Le Te Ti which can also be represented as; b1 b2 b3 b4 b5 b6 b7 b1.

The chromatic scale for these notes include:

For sharps- Do Di Re Ra Mi Fa Sol Si La Ti Do

For flats- Do Ra Re Me Mi Fa Se Sol Le La Te Ti Do.

In essence, when solfege notes are raised, they become sharps automatically, and when they are lowered, they are flats. Mostly when these notes are raised, the vowel sound changes to ‘ee’, and when they are lowered, the vowel sound changes to ‘ae’.



Finding the sharp solfege

The sharp solfege is none other than the ‘Do’ note. Anytime the key signature has the sharp note in the C major, the ‘Do’ can be found by locating the sharp farthest to the right. Go up to the next line which will serve as the name of the key; ‘do’- the sharp solfege.


The order of sharps is referred to as mnemonic. It usually takes the order: F – C – G – D – A – E – B. However, for the order of flat, it follows the reverse order of the sharp solfege which gives something like B -E – A- D- G- C- F.

When working with sharp on C major, the sharp object is not meant to be used until it is time for its use. The object should be kept pointed away from you all the time. The sharp object is not meant to be bent or start over again.

The flat goes in sharp reversed form and it’s important to memorize the notes on circles 5th and 4th that way, it will be easier to identify the movement of flats that starts on ‘b’ and take a movement from 4th.


The accidental is a note of a pitch that is indicated by the most used key signature mostly in C major. It is the representation of most of the notes in musical notation, like the sharp, the flat, or the natural. The sharp is indicated by the sign ‘#’, the flat with the sign ‘b’, and the natural with the sign ‘|’ as the signs can also be referred to as accidental. An accidental sign can be seen to raise or lower the note that comes after it from its normal pitch in the measure bar of the major scale. The semitone is responsible for the raising or lowering of the note which can either have double sharps or flats in sight-singing.

The accidentals always work with all the repetition that can be found in the measure. Anytime a note has an accidental and is repeated in another octave still in the same measure, the accidental in this case is always repeated.



A sharp mostly raise the pitch of a not and a flat, on the other hand, lowers it in sight-singing. The system of the sharp and flat goes with the key signature which is effective through the whole of the musical component be it major or minor keys except it is canceled by another key signature. This is to say that a new key signature can cancel the former one or probably enhance the sharps or flats of the key signature.

The sharp and flat is applicable to concurrent notes in the same position for the balance of measure where they exist unless categorically changed by another key signature. As soon as a note passes a bar line, the accidentals become less effective.

It can only become more effective when a note affected by the accidental is linked to the same note across the bar line. The notes in the second bar that comes after in the same staff position are not affected by the accidentals.

For this system, some of the notes in the above example are:

  • M. 1. G|, G#, G#
  • M. 2. G|. Gb, Gb

Some musicians believe that this convention is cumbersome as it repeatedly uses accidentals, it is however still in much use in tonal music. However, due to the goal of limiting the number of accidentals in a barline, another system of note accidental has been adopted. Some of the systems of the accidentals are:

  • Whenever a sharp or flat pitch is rightly followed its natural form, a natural should be used rather than the sharp or flat.
  • The sharp and flat notes can only affect the notes which they directly precede.
  • The sharp and flat are only repeated for different pitches or tones.
  • They can be repeated only when the tie goes from a line to another line.

Recurrently, an accidental is noted on every note together with the repeated pitches. This new system is made to give an explanation as to why a note with an accidental is not an inflected version of a natural note.



The double sharps or flats raise or lower the pitch of a note by 2 semitones. This is only applicable to written notes as the key signatures are ignored here. Below is a sample of double accidentals for both double flat and double sharp.

The notation of double flat or double sharp varies depending on the note that follows the measure whether it is a single sharp or flat. Most people exclusively use the single accidental for a subsequent note and some use the composite of a natural and a sharp with the natural being applied to the second sharp only. Below is an illustration of this assertion.

Virtually, the double accidental raises or lowers notes encompassing a sharp or a flat semitone. That is, whenever in the key of C# minor or E major, the F, C, G, and D take in a sharp. If in this case a double sharp is added to F, it only raises the F# by one more semitone thereby making a G natural.

Subsequently, when a double sharp is added to a note that is not sharp or flat in the key signature, the note raises by 2 semitones in accordance to the chromatic scale. This means any note that is not an F, C, G, or D is raised by 2 semitones rather than 1.Therefore, a double sharp raises note A natural to coordinate of B natural. Below is an example of double accidental usage:


The key signatures are mainly the keys used in any musical component. These keys can be found using solfege but one must first understand how to identify letters on Bass and Treble, the idea of sharps and flats as it has been discussed earlier, and of course the solfege notes.


In order to identify the major key signatures using sharps, one must first find and be able to identify the last sharp, that is the ‘Ti’. Next up, one must go a half step from the next space to the next note which is the ‘Do’ = G,  for two sharps, the last sharp= C# then up to half step- ‘Do’= D. For three sharps, the last sharp is = G# then up to half step- ‘Do’ = A. For four sharps, the last sharp is =D# then up to half step- ‘Do’ = E.


In order to identify the major key signatures using flats, Find and identify the next to last flat. For two flats (Bb and Eb)next to the last flat is Bb‘Do’ = Bb. For three flats (Bb, Eb, & Ab)– next to the last flat is Eb  ‘Do’ = Eb. For four flats (Bb, Eb, Ab & Db) – next to last flat is Ab ‘Do’ = Ab. For five flats (Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb) – next to last flat is Db ‘Do’ = Db.

However, it is of utmost importance to note that there are no flats or sharps – ‘Do’= C.

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